Gérald-Godin College

Gérald-Godin College in Sainte-Geneviève, Quebec, Canada by Saucier+Perrotte Architects, 1999

Reusing and adding to a 1932 Jesuit monastery, the Gérald-Godin College in Ste-Geneviève by Montreal's Saucier + Perrotte Architects takes a contemporary view of relating to yesterday's buildings. Roughly the same size and height as the existing building, the addition breaks dramatically from the static, yet dignified, design of the original with a daring, angular form that seems to move both toward and away from the existing.

Consisting of classrooms, labs, offices, a library, a sports center, a cafe, and an auditorium, the college divides these spaces amongst the old and new buildings and an underground portion that links the two. This last maneuver gives the addition a contextual scale, so it stands apart from its surroundings through design instead of size. The metal- and glass-clad structure reveals itself at night (left) and during the day when white window shades contrast with the dark aluminum panels.

The image at left illustrates the designs overt attempt at bringing natural light to the subterranean spaces, the gymnasium and cafe. The light monitors also act as three-dimensional sculptural signs, indicating the shared entry created by the addition bridging this space. Between the addition above and the larger spaces below this forecourt help to bring the visitor into the realm of the College, appropriately in the joint between the old and new.

In the existing building, the architects cut away floors to create spaces for vertical circulation within the library, but also to bring daylight deep into the spaces through the small openings in the thick masonry walls. Here the contemporary flavor of the addition is extended into the existing, thereby becoming a cohesive whole that blends old and new.